Album review: HELD BY TREES – Solace


Tweed Jacket Music [Release date 22.04.22]

The opening piece on this instrumental album sounds like an outtake from Inspector Morse c.1988.  It was one of the great TV detective series, punctuated by Barrington Pheloung’s superb orchestrations.  I digress, perhaps the link here is the late-1980s.  Whilst Morse was drinking and thinking Talk Talk, who had made some impact in the mainstream with several chart hits including ‘Life’s What You Make It’, went a bit experimental.

Now, several musicians who played on the Talk Talk records have come together to fashion an essentially chill-out album including ace sessionists Tim Renwick and Robbie McIntosh.

Talk Talk’s 1988 album ‘Spirit Of Eden’ was commercially less successful than their predecessors, but this (and the following ‘Laughing Stock’) form a template for the loose, free-flowing approach adopted here.

It’s wonderful, reflective and absorbing music as evidenced by ‘In The Trees’ with its chiming guitar ground and ‘Rain After Sun’ allowing subtle improvisation from Mike Smith (sax).

There’s a jazz vibe permeating throughout but the album remains accessible and immersive.  It crys out for a 5.1 surround mix.

Nothing moves too quickly in this world and the whole is augmented by field recordings of nature: rain, wind, waves, birds.  And to keep up the eco-friendly nature of this work – all coordinated by multi-instrumentalist David Joseph – a tree will be planted in Madagascar for every album sold.  Climatastic.  ****1/2

Review by David Randall

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